I bought a roast the other day. Not just any roast. A rump roast. A large, asymmetrical wedge of beef that sports no cool name, like tri-tip or tenderloin. About all it really does is conjure up an image of a fat ass. That’s its claim to fame. The ass roast.
It was my first roast. My mom made them all the time when I was a kid, usually petrified beyond recognition and served with mashed potatoes, peas and homemade gravy made with something called “drippings.” Even then the word freaked me out. Now, it’s even scarier. If I knew then what I know now, nary a morsel of anything made with “drippings” would have passed my lips.
So, I was in the grocery store, looking for something easy, yet impressive to serve my in-laws when the idea hit me: a roast! I quickly scanned the meat department for a large chunk of meat. I didn’t even know that it was ass that I was looking for. I had no idea really what that thing was that my mother used to serve. I grill tri-tips and tenderloins; I don’t put meat into the oven, unless it’s a bird. I saw something that looked vaguely familiar. I checked the label: rump roast. There was no doubt about it, this was the very same thing my mom regularly executed in our aqua-colored oven circa 1977.
I took my ass home and poked holes in it, then shoved in chunks of garlic. Salt, pepper, olive oil and into the oven my ass went. An hour and a half later, I tore open an envelope of gravy mix and followed the directions. I added the “drippings” to it (evidence that I have, in fact, become my mother) and whipped up the potatoes. We had our dinner: a perfect piece of ass.
Just then, my nine-year old came in.
“Mom, what’s for dinner?”
“Assss…” I began, swiftly realizing my error. I continued: “…k me no questions, I’m trying to get dinner on the table.”